Magnetic resistance isnt anything new it’s been featured on cardio gear for the past decade or so. But it’s only recently this whisper-quiet resistance system has filtered its way down the price ranges. Now we can get hold of a well-built magnetic rowing machine for under $350.

Frictionless near-silent rowing.

And it’s not just the price thats appealing about magnetic rowers? Their resistance systems are frictionless resulting in a maintenance-free near-silent rowing machine. There’s no noisy fan to deal with or chain drive to cause a ton of vibrations like an air rowing machine.

Belt drive system

A magnetic rower comes with a belt drive system and when combined with a magnetic resistance system is the quietest combination you’ll find for any rowing machine making them the ideal choice for a home gym.

woman rowing on a magnetic rowing machine in her home gymm

No need to spend a ton of cash on a magnetic rower machine

As I already mentioned you dont have to spend a load of cash on a magnetic rower they’re cheaper to manufacture than an air or water rower so prices are lower.

I’ve been reviewing magnetic rowing machines for years, and while I’ve found the quality can vary a lot from one machine to the next, there are thankfully a handful of excellent low-cost magnetic rowing machines worthy of some serious consideration.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what’s on offer especially in the past year or so.

Strong resistance, smooth rowing strokes, & sturdy builds

Low cost magnetic rowers are more impressive now than they ever have been. For under $350 you’ll find rowing machines with sturdy, high-quality builds, smooth rowing strokes, and resistance systems capable of intense calorie-burning workouts.

Top 3 Magnetic Rowers Comparison Table

Best Magnetic Rowing Machine Reviews

fitness reality 1000 plus rower showing all features

1. Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Rowing Machine

Fitness Reality has been around for a long time this company specializes in high qulaity low-cost gym gear, and their magnetic rower the 1000 Plus boasts more features and the best build qulaity you’ll find for the price point.

66lb sturdy build

Weighing 66lb the Fitness Reality 1000 is heavy for a low-cost rower, that extra weight is really going to help keep this machine planted to the floor. This is a machine thats going to feel solid when you’re rowing, it’s not going to feel like some cheaply built unstable machine.

Also, that extra weight is a telling sign this rowing machine is made from quality materials, the heavier the better.

14 levels of resistance

We get 14 levels of resistance with the Fitness Reality which is more than most in this price bracket, users have mentioned they can really feel the difference between the lower and upper levels which is always reassuring to hear.

One of the quietest rowers your find thanks to the belt drive and magnetic resistance systems, also you have a 7lb premier weighted flywheel which helps keep the rowing stroke smooth and uninterrupted.

Something else I liked about the Fitness Reality is that its seat is perfectly contoured to prevent slips in the push phase of the rowing stroke. I know it’s only a minor feature but it’s an important one if you want to keep the correct rowing form.

Long angled rail

The rail is a good length for a budget rower and can accommodate users up to 6’4″ at full leg extension and dont worry if you’re petite because the minimum height limit is around 4’10”

Plus the rail of the rowing machine is angled. The reason I prefer angled rails is that they intensify the push phase of the rowing stroke ‘great for building the legs’ and it speeds up the recovery phase.


Low-cost rowers have to cut somewhere and it’s usually the monitor. Still the Fitness Reality monitor isnt to bad at all, it’s the only low-cost rower to include Bluetooth and free access to their fitness app. Plus its tracks all the usual workout data such as distance, time, count, total count, and calories burned.

And lastly the Fitness Reality 1000 comes with an extra pair of footpads placed at the front of the machine, you can stand on these and perform standing exercises with the rowing handle such as bicep curls, etc something I know many users liked.

Overall a sturdy, well-built machine from Fitness Reality. These guys got all the essentials right.

An impressive foldable magnetic rowing machine that even includes BlueTooth for under $350.

The Good

14 levels of smooth whisper quiet resistance

Maintenance free belt drive system

Long rail/beam – suitable for users 4′.10″ – 6′.4″

Smoothest rowing stroke in price bracket – thanks to high-quality parts and excellent design

Easy to fold takes just a few seconds

Front stabilizer foot pedals allow for additional upper body workouts

Bluetooth enabled sync with MyCloudFitness app

Built-in transport wheels – just tilt and roll to store

The Bad

No pulse reading function

LCD isnt backlit

No pre-programmed workouts


side view sunny magnetic rower in front room of house

2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5155

Sunny Health knows what they’re doing when it comes to building rowing machines, they’ve had years of experience and their positive ratings and user reviews are a reflection of this company’s hard work at providing you with the best possible rower for your money.

But it’s the entry-level magnetic rowers where this company shines, they are now the market leaders by a long way, and the SF-RW5515 is their best-selling rower, why? Quite simply, you get a lot of bang for your buck with SF-RW5515.

It’s one of the only entry-level magnetic rowers where I’ve heard people praise the strength of resistance, even in levels as low as 4-5. Having a strong, smooth resistance at this price is almost impossible to find, and it’s what sells this rower for me.

Because of the strong resistance, the Sunny SF-RW5155 is going to appeal to beginners as well as more advanced users. You’ll be able to burn a ton of calories on this excellent rower while strengthening your upper and lower body muscles.

The Sunny Health rower also has one of the longest beams in this category, users as tall as 6’5″ have said they could achieve full leg extension.

Another thing that sells this rower from Sunny is that it has stood the test of time, it’s been out for nearly 5 years and people who have owned it for a few years are still praising how well it works, and there’s not many $250 rowers that can boast that kind of feedback.

This super quiet rower with 8 magnetic resistance levels and a large easy to read LCD monitor is certainly worth some consideration. You won’t find any better for $250 it’s unbeatable at this price.

The Good

Excellent build quality for price point

Smooth rowing stroke

maintenance free belt drive and magnetic resistance systems

longest rail in price bracket and a 275lb max weight capacity make this rower a great choice for larger users

Folds for storage

Easy to use monitor

Built-in transport wheels

The Bad

Monitor isnt backlit

No workout programs

Short warranty


joroto M35 magnetic rower side view

3. Joroto M35 Magnetic Rowing Machine

Joroto hasn’t been around long but they are making quite an impact in the low-cost cardio market. I had the pleasure of reviewing one of their spin bikes last year and for the price point, that thing was impressive, well built, affordable, and packed with features. And by the looks of it, their budget magnetic rowing machine is equally impressive.

When I first saw the Joroto M35 Magnetic rower I was taken back by just how good it looks I love the all-aluminum flywheel. This sleek machine has the feel and aesthetics of a much higher-priced rower. Its oversized features such as the wide rail, footpads, and seat also stand out.

However, it’s a fairly compact rower which is why we dont see such a long rail with a max height limit of around 6’2″. Still, the rail is wide it’s oversized for stability which is great news. The Joroto seat also uses high-grade ball bearings and rollers similar to those used on the Fitness Reality so the seat of Joroto M35 slides smoothly and silently.

There shouldnt be any stability issues either as we have nice wide stabilizers at the front and rear of the rower which helps prevent wobbles, and you have adjustable levelers which can be independently adjusted to keep the rower stable on uneven surfaces.

You have 10 levels of magnetic resistance which is more than enough for most fitness levels, and a belt drive system to help keep things smooth and silent.

The monitor as with all low-cost rowing machines is nothing to shout home about, but it’s easy to set up and use, and tracks all the essential data you need for your workouts. The only thing the monitor is really missing is a heart rate monitor and workout programs.

Still, the monitor is height adjustable which is a big plus as it means you can adjust it to the perfect height to suit your size. It also has a large screen making it easy to read.

You might be surprised to hear that the Joroto isnt a foldable rower? Instead, this rower can be stored vertically. Vertical storage takes up less room than a folding rower just 0.20 square meters of space when stored against a wall. It’s a handy design feature and something we dont usually come across on magnetic rowers as nearly all are foldable.

Joroto has come up trumps with this rower all the essentials are there; build quality, smooth rowing stroke, and strong resistance. It does cost slightly more than the others in this review but its cool looks might make it worth those extra few dollars?

The Good

Sturdy build can handle up to 300lb

Smooth rowing stroke

10 levels of whisper quiet magnetic resistance

Belt drive system much quieter than a noisy chain drives and maintenance free

Only takes up 0.15 metres of space when stored upright

Can accommodate users up to 6’2″

Easy to assemble

The Bad

No workout programs

LCD isnt backlit

Not suitable for seasoned rowers


yosuda magnetic rowing machine 16 levels of resistance white background

4. Yosuda Magnetic Rowing Machine

Yosuda makes some decent gear they haven’t quite reached the standards of the other top 3 companies in this price bracket but they’re not far off. They are improving every year and their popularity is growing. Their Yosuda magnetic rowing machine is one of the most popular magnetic rowers out there right now and so it should because it offers a lot for the price point.

For around $250 we have a magnetic rower with 16 levels of resistance thats more than any other rower for the price.

Still just because there are more levels of resistance it doesnt necessarily mean the resistance will be any stronger in the upper levels than a magnetic rower with 8 resistance levels. All it really means in this price bracket is more choice which is a good thing for beginners who do not want big jumps in resistance strength.

But what surprised me about his machine is that it includes a 10lb flywheel, thats heavy for the price point, and will help keep the rowing motion smooth and consistent.

It’s a pretty heavy rowing machine overall at just under 70lb so we also know it isnt cheaply built. The seat is slightly contoured so you have some support in the push phase of the stroke, and it’s made from high-density foam. High-density foam is the good stuff its not too soft to be unstable or too hard to be off-putting it’s just right.

And lastly, we have a long rail with a 40″ inseam that can accommodate users up to 6’5″. The Yosuda rower certainly impresses for a $250 rower it has more resistance levels than any other machine, the build qulaity is there, and with a long rail and high weight capacity, it’s a great choice for larger users.

The Good

Sturdy build – can handle up to 350lb 

Whisper quiet magnetic resistance system – won’t disturb others around you with the sound of your workout

10lb flywheel and belt drive keep rowing stroke smooth and consistant

Long rail – can accommodate users up to 6’5″ at full leg extension (min user height 4’11”)

Contoured seat prevents your butt from slipping in push phase of the rowing stroke

Adjustbale levelers keep rower stable on uneven surfaces

Folds for storage 

20 minute assembly

The Bad

No workout programs

Monitor isnt backlit making it hard to read in low light conditions

No way to monitor pulse

Not suitable for serious rowers


advenor foldable magnetic rowing machine

5. Advenor Magnetic Rowing Machine

The Advenor is about as cheap as you want to go before you’ll start to hit build qulaity issues. The reason I like the Advenor is that it’s about as fuss-free as you’ll find. Yes, it’s a basic rower, but the build quality is good, and like the Yosuda the essentials are all there.

Resistance is lacking on this machine which means its only really a good choice for beginners. It’s strong enough for calorie-burning workouts but nothing too intense.

Plus the rowing motion is smooth thanks to its silky smooth belt drive system and 6lb flywheel. The rail is reasonably long accommodating users up to 6’3″ and it folds easily for storage thanks to its pull-pin adjustment system that takes just a few seconds to fold.

It weighs around 50lb so it’s not super light, some rowing machines in this price bracket weigh as little as 35lb. The Advenor is a sturdy, compact budget rower. Something else I know many users like about this rower is how easy it is to assemble taking most people just 15 minutes.

The monitor is basic and includes just the essential tracking of stats such as time, distance, and calories.

Overall the Advenor is perfect for light cardio sessions and will last. For around $200 you have a magnetic rower built by a company that takes pride in its products, yes it’s a long way off commercial grade, but for home use, it’s easily good enough. And you save a ton of cash because it comes without any bells and whistles,

The Good

Sturdy frame can hold up to 265lb

Whisper quite resistnace system great for home use

Good length rail for a budget rower can accommodate users up to 6’3″

Folds for easy storage

Comfy wide padded seat

Easy to assemble

Buil in transport wheels just tilt and roll to store

Adjustable levelers keeps rower stable on uneven surfaces

The Bad

No workouts programs

No option to monitor pulse

Not suitable for serious rowers


stamina magnetic rowing machine 1110 in front room of home

Stamina 1110 multi-level Magnetic Rower

Stamina is another well-respected brand in the fitness industry, and another company well known for producing quality gym equipment.

The Stamina 1110 is a well-built entry-level rower that benefits from a quiet, smooth rowing action.

It, too, has 8 resistance levels, which can be changed via the knob situated underneath the monitor.

An excellent looking rower that users loved because of how comfy it was to use, especially noted was a large padded seat, wide pivoting footrests, and padded handlebar.

Again it’s always great to see a large LCD. A large LCD is helpful because you do not need to slow or stop exercising to read the workout stats, they’re easily read while in motion.

The Stamina is one of the most compact rowers available, which is useful for storage but limits the height of the user. I think anyone over 6′ will struggle to achieve full leg extension.

As one of the cheapest rowers available under $200 on offer right now, it’s a rower not to be sneered at. If you’re looking for a budget rower for light cardio workouts or as a warm-up machine, the Stamina is the perfect low impact choice.

The Good

Good value for money

Compact design

Comfortable seat

Long warranty 3 years (great for budget rower)


Space for water bottle

The Bad

Monitor beeps every stroke

Velcro foot straps can be uncomfortable

Batteries not included


Best Heavy-Duty Magnetic Rower Under $700

side view stamina avari magnetic rower in showroom

Stamina Avari Magnetic Rower

The Stamina Avari is one of the best magnetic rowers on the market.

The Avari magnetic rower is well known for its smooth, quiet motion and when coupled with the Stamina’s strong adjustable resistance.There really isn’t a better rower experience out there from a magnetic rower.

The rower boasts an advanced monitor with 12 workout programs and even provides a free heart rate monitor, you’re going to be hard pushed to find anything bad to say about this impressive rower from Stamina.

To control the resistance levels couldn’t be more comfortable because, unlike the entry levels models, you can change the resistance levels from the monitor.

You can also choose any of the 12 workout programs from the monitor, which include rolling hill mode, valley mode, fat burn mode, ramp mode, mountain mode, interval mode, target heart rate mode, and 4 user-defined modes. 

Especially useful is the target heart rate mode, this mode is great for optimizing your workouts within your target heart rate zone.

As for full leg extension, one user mentioned he was 6’4″ and had no issues with full leg extension, any taller, and I recommend contacting their customer service for advice. There is no lower limit for the height that I know of.

Overall this rower offers you the best rowing experience currently from any magnetic rower, with an excellent build, advanced backlit monitor, and free heart rate strap, the Stamina Magnetic Rower, should appeal to most.

The Good

Well built, sturdy

Versatile 12 workout programmes 

Easy to assemeble

Great LCD monitor

Folds for storage

Heart rate strap included in price

The Bad

Some users complained seat was uncomfortable


side view Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Ultra Tension Magnetic Pro Rower

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5508 Magnetic rower

Sunny Health has made it into the top 3 again with the excellent SF-RW5508 rowing machine. Ok, it’s not the nicest looking rowing machine in the world, but it’s one of my favs and deserves to be on the list.We know Sunny Health makes some very good entry levels rowers, but they have taken the extra step with the 5508 rowers, this is their top of the line magnetic rower, and it shows.A no-frills rowing machine, no, it doesn’t include pre-programmed workouts, there is no fancy monitor with this rower, but what you do get is strong resistance and durability,Sunny Health even recommends this rower for light commercial use.This rower has been designed for people looking for high-intensity cardio workouts that don’t want to pay the extra few hundred dollars for advanced monitors and workout programs. It is, therefore, one of the best-built rowers with strong resistance for anyone on a tighter budget.With 10 resistance levels altogether, the SF-RW5508 rower will cater to most fitness levels, including beginners.The SF-RW5508 has a pulse receiver built into the monitor. Still, sadly you will have to purchase the heart rate chest strap separately around $50, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it keeps the price of the rower down. Not everyone wants or needs this option.

The Good

Heavy-duty, stable build

10 levels of resistance

Whisper quiet rowing stroke

High info monitor for price range

Built-in wireless pulse receiver

Easy to assemble (30 mins) all tools included

The Bad

No fold feature

Large footprint

Cannot change resistance level from monitor


Velocity magnetic rowing machine

Velocity Magnetic Rower

One of the least expensive magnetic rowers to feature pre-programmed workouts and a heart rate chest strap.

All in all, the Velocity rower has 12 different workout programs, which include 6 pre-programmed workouts, 4 open slots to customize your workouts, 1 target heart program, and 1 manual and 8 resistance levels. All can be controlled through the advanced backlit monitor.

An extremely well-built rower, designed purposefully for small workout areas. Because of the compact size, some taller users may run into issues with the Velocity rower, 6’2″ is the max height with this one.

Strong resistance and 12 workout programs are the main selling features of the Velocity rower, and it shouldn’t be passed by without some serious consideration.

The Velocity Rower is very similar to the Stamina; build quality isn’t quite up there with the Stamina. But you won’t find a better mid-range magnetic rower with pre-programmed workouts for under $500. You get a lot for your money with the Velocity.

The Good

12 workout programmes

8 resistance levels

Whisper quiet

Foldable/transport wheels – easy to store

Built-in heart rate receiver with chest strap

Advanced backlit performance monitor

The Bad

Short warranty for monitor and parts

If electronic parts malfuntion you will not be able to use the machine as resistance is adjusted from the monitor


Buying Tips & Info


Generally speaking, the weight of a magnetic rower or any piece of fitness equipment provides a big clue to the overall quality and stability of the thing. The heavier, the better. The rower doesn’t need to be built like a tank, but for a decent one, we hope to see a weight of over 50lb, 80-100lb being ideal.

A heavier machine does make moving the rower that much harder, but I’d much rather have a well-built, stable rower than a lightweight one that moves all over the place and breaks within six months.

Most rowers come with built-in transport wheels, and some even fold for storage, making moving and storing that much easier.


As we mentioned weight helps with stability, but also look out for wide stabilizing feet at the front and rear of the rower, make sure the feet are capped in rubber as the rubber helps with any slippage issues on hard floors.

And if you’re still having trouble with the rower moving, try buying a specially designed rower anti-slip mat, which you can place under the rower, a few dollars from Amazon.


You will find most entry-level rowers are supplied with a basic monitor. They usually track strokes, strokes per minute, distance, times, and calories. Although basic, some stats are helpful to track. They allow you to set goals as you progress.

What we do find with some basic monitors is they lack a distance setting which can be very disappointing, make sure at the least your monitor has a distance setting and that it is tracked in km not miles as many tracks in miles.

And also worth mentioning is calorie count, on basic monitors, the calorie count will be inaccurate, they have no way of knowing your weight or measuring pulse, etc. If you want an accurate measurement, you will need to spend more and buy a rower with an advanced monitor and heart rate receiver.


How Does Magnetic Resistance Work?

Have you ever wondered why magnetic rowing machines are so quiet compared to their air counterparts, well that’s because they use a magnetic braking system.

How does it work? The metal flywheel inside your wheel housing spins, there’s also a magnet inside the flywheels housing that moves further or closer to the metal flywheel, depending on which levels of resistance you have chosen — the closer the magnet to the flywheel, the stronger the resistance.

And the benefit of this type of resistance is that it produces virtually no friction, which is great for us because it leads to the rower being almost silent in operation.

Are Magnetic Rowers Better Than Air?

Before we decide which is best, it’s important to realize magnetic and air share many similarities:

    1. Both use a handle and strap attached to a flywheel as the pull mechanism
    2. Both work and strengthen the same muscles
    3. Magnetic and air are available at entry level, medium, and high price brackets
    4. Both offer fold features, built-in transport wheels, and similar sized footprints
    5. And lastly, the same rowing technique is used

The most significant difference between the two is, one resistance is dynamic the other constant.

Magnetic machines utilize constant resistance. The resistance only changes when you manually change it yourself either by turning the resistance knob or pressing the arrow keys on the monitor.

Constant resistance allows you to row at a slow pace in a high resistance setting. This is a handy feature for some people and is impossible to achieve with an air rower.

The resistance on an air rower is dynamic; the faster you row, the stronger the resistance, some people prefer dynamic resistance because it allows for a more natural feel.

Resistance type is down to personal preference; some love magnetic rowers because they are so quiet, they can watch TV while rowing and not disturb others who live with them. You won’t need a separate room to house a magnetic rower, unlike the noisy air rowers.

Your find seasoned rowers will most probably prefer an air rower because the air rower mimics the resistance felt while rowing on the water, and some say you can achieve stronger resistance with air.

Magnetic rowers are lower in price, can provide strong enough resistance for pro-level cardio workouts, and importantly are very quiet, which is why we think they are an excellent choice for an indoor rower.

To Sum Up

Fitness Reality has really impressed with their 1000 Plus Magnetic Rower it’s undoubtedly the best magnetic rowing machine you’ll find in the lower price brackets both on qulaity and features.  Its sturdy build is evidence of the high qulaity parts used to make it. And the only rower for under $300 to include BlueTooth.

And the Stamina Avari is, in our opinion, the best magnetic rower currently available for intense workouts, excellent build quality, 12 workouts programs, and strong enough resistance for seasoned rowers. If you’re looking for a rower that will last and is capable of accommodating all of your fitness goals, then this durable magnetic rower from Stamina shouldn’t be missed.